laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Simply Comforting


I’ve seen a lot of other blogs recently featuring their favorite comfort foods. I even did a chicken noodle soup one. While this one isn’t so terribly different. It’s good enough that you’re going to want to try it. And for a limited time only, I will offer you two recipes for the price of one.

Bacon Chicken and Dumplings and how to make your own, homemade version of bisquick.

One of my favorite cooking companions. My sweet little Sous Chef!

Bacon Chicken and Dumplings (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

3 slices of bacon

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, diced

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts diced*

3 cups chicken broth

1 tsp poultry seasoning

salt and pepper (to taste)

1 can whole kernel corn (drained and rinsed)

2 cups half-and-half**

1 1/2 cups biscuit mix

1 cup milk

*I used 4 because I wanted it extra chicken-y, and of course the eternal problem where hubbyman doesn’t like soup.

**I used whole milk (because that’s what I had).

***You could add in more vegetables. If I’d of thought about it, I would’ve at least added some of the carrots sitting in my fridge.

1. Place bacon in large, deep skillet. Cook over med-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside; reserve bacon drippings in skillet. (I didn’t have any bacon thawed, but I thought it sounded so good. I did have some bacon drippings, so I did use that. But I will be using the bacon next time.)

2. Add potatoes, onion, and chicken to bacon drippings and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in chicken broth; season with poultry seasoning (here’s what my poultry seasoning has in it: marjoram, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, and savory), salt, and pepper. Stir in corn, and simmer everything together for about 15 minutes.  *

3. Pour in milk (or half-and-half) and bring to a boil; add crumbled bacon. In a med. bowl, combine biscuit mix with milk and mix well (dough should be thick). Drop tablespoon sizes of dough into boiling mixture; reduce head and simmer for 10 minutes (uncovered) and then another 10 (covered). Avoid stirring while it’s simmers, or the dumplings could break apart.

*It was during this time (the 15 min simmer) that I whipped up the homemade version of bisquick, so by the time the simmer was done, so was the mix.

(image credit: AllRecipes.com) I couldn't find my camera so I didn't get any pictures. But it looked and tasted wonderful!

Homemade Bisquick Mix

 6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted *

3 tbs baking powder

1 tbs salt

1/2 cup cold butter

*I used Tom Sawyer all-purpose gluten free flour (it’s my favorite) but I’m hoping to come up with my own blend

1. In a med. bowl, measure and sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a wire whisk to make sure it’s blended thoroughly.

2. With a pastry cutter (or something similar – I actually used a cheese grater to “grate” the butter), cut in butter until it’s fully incorporated.

3. Store in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 months.

You can use this in place of bisquick. We’ve made pancakes, snickerdoodles (My Aunt said she actully preferred my gluten free version!), and biscuits out of the mix. It’s fantastic. And, in my opinion, even better than the box. Also- it’s way cheaper. So there you have it folks!

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I Make Donuts. Call Me WonderMom.


So…. I’m pretty behind in posts in general, I know. And food posts, I’m sure I’m behind by like a month. Whoops. I have another confession- this is not going to be one either. Well, not completely. Even though I haven’t been doing posts about food, we still have been cooking, and even eating. Shocking, right? Really, there’s been lots of foodie stuff going on here… for Christmas I got a pasta extruder (you have no idea how happy this made me!).

I’ve made lots of yummy pastas, some new pasta sauces (including a pink garlic sauce- so good), sugar cookie cut outs galore, and donuts. I bought a specialty cookbook (for gluten free) specifically because it had a donut recipe in it. And I’ve been looking longingly at the donut making machines over the holidays… and then, during some post-holiday shopping, I found a set that had two donut trays. One for your regular circle donuts, and one for long john style donuts!! I was practically giddy. Ok, there’s no practically, I was giddy. You see, January marks one year of us being gluten free. It feels like it’s been much longer, but a year it’s definitely been. And we have come a long way since those first weeks. We were given a lot of discouraging advice, encouraging advice, and a lot of mixed signals. Thankfully, we were able to weed out the good and the bad and trudge on through. We did have some things going for us already. We already ate little to no processed foods, and I was already making/cooking most things… so I ordered some all-purpose GF flour on-line (because you can get it WAY cheaper and in bigger quantities) and just kept on cooking as usual. I really lucked out. This all-purpose mix is still by far my favorite. We thought it might be a fluke that the first brand we tried was so awesome, but I have not been impressed with any other brand we’ve tried.  While we still have our areas that we could improve upon (I need to make and freeze more pasta sheets on a regular basis, so they’re always available in a pinch. I also need to get back into making bread on a regular basis.), but we have certainly come a long way. We now know so much more about the little changes we can make to keep gluten out of the house and home and tummies. We have found new family favorites and ventured into foods we never otherwise would have. Plus, we feel better! We made “Mexican pizzas” (tostadas), we have sandwiches made out of waffles (the kids’ absolute favorite), we make our own pasta, we make our own sauces, we double our recipes so that we can freeze half for an easy/quick meal another night, and we do lots of experiments!

You know what the best part is? Knowing that one year ago, we were trying everything we could think of to help our sweet little girl. Who had awful tummy issues from midnight exorcism-style vomiting, to much less pleasant potty issues that I’ll save you from the details, to hives attacking her face with each and every meal. We’d gone a year trying to figure out what was causing the hives, we’d thrown out processed foods, stayed away from anything with preservatives or food coloring, gave up tomatoes and anything with citric acid… to no avail. In fact, her hives were getting worse. They were no longer just showing up around her mouth with a meal, they were staying on her sweet little face all the time, and spreading to her neck with meals. Now I know there is some controversy in the needing to be tested. But in order to do that she’d have to continue eating gluten for 2 solid months and then undergo a big-deal time of invasion to her body, which is is teeny-tiny. And the test often comes out with a false negative. Yeah, I’m not down for that. Especially, when after being gluten free for only a month, her hives went away. And they haven’t been back. And we’ve been able to add back in some of the foods that we avoided previously. Like tomatoes. Hello, ketchup! She was so excited to be able to have the ketchup that her brother shovels onto just about every food. (Except rice, because apparently that’s gross. But ketchup and anything else is totally acceptable. And I mean anything else.) Really, to me, my daughter feeling better (you know it’s a big deal when you could tell a 3 year old that she can’t have the cookie being offered because it’s one that will make her tummy hurt, and she just says, so what can I have? without getting upset at all. Or when offered something she’ll ask, will this make my tummy hurt? She feels that much better, and that’s sayin’ something.) And the diet change has caused us to look more closely into the things we’re eating and to become more intentional with the things we eat along with where they come from. Plus, now I make my own donuts. My life is now complete.

See that, a real, homemade (by me!) donut... Gluten free, and it's vegan too!

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Macaroni Twist (Simply Impressive)


Ok, so I don’t have pictures to include with this post (yet!), but I will this evening! I have gotten out of the habit of my Impressively Simple Thursdays, and I am wanting to get back into the habit! So today I am just starting doing it! (It can’t be a habit if I don’t ever start, can it??) Because I’m hoping to get a ton done today (I’ve been hiding from the mountain of laundry screaming my name.), I want a meal that’s simple, and doesn’t require a lot of time or effort… which is why this wonderful, yummy casserolesque dish gets the pick! I got an email (click here to see original recipe) that I got the base from, and of course, adapated to make it my own.  It’s incredibly yummy and incredibly heavy (so not something I’d make on a weekly basis, but a wonderful comfort food!). Perfect twist on plain old macaroni if you ask me! And hubbyman loves any recipe that includes bacon!

Some things to know before hand: They used penne pasta, but my children loooove “phone noodles” (otherwise known as elbow) and so that’s what we’ll be using, but I of course recommend using whatever your favorite kind of noodle is (or even better, let your kids pick out what their favorite kind is- they’re waaay more likely to eat and enjoy it!). Also they said a serving size of 12 and since I’m only feeding 5…. 12 seems unnecessary. So this is for a family of five and you can reduce it still if necessary, or copy their ratio (or just double what I have listed here) and freeze the leftovers (or make it in two dishes- one for tonight and one for another night!). Anyways, here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

pasta (about 5 handfuls or whatever equals 5-6 servings)

bacon (I used 3 pieces of bacon)

1/2 cup crushed protons (gluten free croutons- you can use panko or whatever breadcrumbs you normally use, or even a little almond meal instead. whatever you have on hand!)

1/8 cup butter, melted

1 tsp parsley (fresh; use less if dried)

1 1/2 tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 small onion, finally chopped

1 tbs flour (I used coconut flour with an extra pinch or two of almond flour, but you can use all-purpose or whatever your favorite flour/thickener is)

1 cup heavy cream (the recepiet called for 4 CUPS of heavy cream… yikes! I happened to have a small amount left, so I used it up because otherwise it would go to waste, but I’d really just use milk otherwise. That’s alotta cream! And between the bacon and the cheese, heavy cream just seems above and beyond!)

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp thyme (fresh, less if using dried)

1/2 cup cheese (calls for monterray jack but I had pepperjack and mozzarella… so I did half and half)

1 cup cheddar cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Now, go ahead and cook your noodles (boil slightly salted water, add noodles, bring to a boil again. Now you don’t want these all the way mushy, you want them still slightly firm to the bite. So if you think they’re not quite done enough to eat, they’re done.) and drain well.

Cook bacon until evenly browned, reserving (saving) the drippings in a small bowl. Drain bacon on towel-lined plate, and then crumble bacon into a bowl, mix in the breadcrumbs (or in my case the crushed GF protons/croutons), butter, and parsley.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium, adding in onions and garlic. Cook and stir until they’ve softened; 3-5 minutes. Stir in bacon drippings and flour. Cook and stir for one minute and then whisk in the cream/milk and thyme. Continue cooking and stirring until reduced by about 1/3. Then add the cheeses, stirring until melted. (I find it clumps less if you add it in slowly rather than all at once.) Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta. Transfer mixture into an oven-safe dish. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb/bacon mixture and bake until crumbs have browned and sauce is bubbly. About 15-20 minutes.

Seem like a lot to do? Here’s how I simplified it. Instead of doing it one at a time, I did it all at once. I promise it’s not as complicated as that may sound.  Get water going for noodles. While water is boiling, cook your bacon in a skillet (or something similar that you can then use for cooking the onions and garlic = less dishes). Yes, your noodles will probably be done before the full cheese mixture is done, but it will save you time in the long run. This way too if your noodles are not as firm as you need/want them, you have time to run some cold water over them or throw some ice cubes in with them and let them firm up before baking. As far as reheating, it’s not quite the same when microwaving (especially if you used all that heavy cream)… but you can reheat it in a skillet with a little extra milk/butter) for just a minute or two and voila it’s yummy!

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